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The Gathering
A motley crew from far and wide were drawn to meeting places mapped out by a strange computer tool designed to draw people together for dangerous and exciting quest. Strange names appeared on unworldly signs such as Grundon, Cheively, Leigh Delemere, with promises of unparalleled sustenance – life giving cawffee, sustaining T and buns galore, hastily consumed ready for the big battle. Trailing one behind the other, covering each others tracks the warriors (actually the Warrior was missing for this quest) trundled noisily on their well trodden track; some peeling off for a final refill before the mysterious signs of the C17 guided them to hidden country fields where the lowing of cattle; the call of hunted animals and the cry of strangled cock birds, brought realisation for the final battle. The calls of ‘Where’s my pegs’; no it goes THIS WAY; the wind whipping their flimsy shelters into a tangled mess until at last peace reigned. Talking of rain this was the next challenge the team faced, early arrivals glad that their shelters were firmly planted, late comers rushing to erect some sort of shelter whilst buffeted this way and that. Finally with the chiefs tent and mobile mud hut assembled and other elders vying for the best and biggest dwelling trying to curry favour with their chief.  

The weather forced the villages into their respective long halls to chew the fat or carrots depending on taste, let up long enough for the share of local grog, pulled from hidden depths of backpacks calling out Jim, Jack where are you, Wining voices called from hidden boxes, to the delight of the likely groups until dregs were spat out onto hallowed ground making fortune tellers grovel in the grass to obtain a faithful reading.  

Rations were purchased or unveiled, turning into a frenzied feeding of the 5000 although fish was spurned in favour of strongly flavoured red meat. Jack and Jim had disappeared down dark tunnels protesting that their flavour had only been partly tasted but knowing that the blood they now coursed through would render their enemies into a paralytic state but not without a last shout or song. Oracles were consulted but obviously the correct sacrifices were not made, despite many likely animals in the vicinity, as instead of the expected Sundance Kid it was Rainman who prevailed that night.

Strange sounds assailed the ears of many of the wanderers, some tuneful others not, unlikely movements gripped the crowd as gyrating bodies fell under the influence. Weary bodies faced the final challenge of glaring lights and deafening sounds, trying desperately to move their aching muscles in time to heavy beatings. Conga lines formed and tables groaned under the weight of heavy boots to the dying sounds of Welsh dragons. Gradually the quests were complete for one day the companions made their weary way back to their flimsy dwellings to rest ahead of a second quest. The sounds of snoring strangely missing or maybe drowned out by rain and hail hammering on canvass.  

A day of competitions followed each clan vying for prizes on offer although it may have worked better had everyone been in the same competition as prizes were lost in the fray. There was an objection from one contestant who would not agree to stay in his outfit until November the 5th, spoil sport Terry. A virgin was sacrificed to the delight of all clans, although it seemed it was difficult to sacrifice someone with blocks of ice, although the willing virgin did get warmed up by a pair of large ear warmers.    

A group of wandering minstrels arrived with strange string boxes and skins taught across hollow metal tubes. No dancing in the music area in fact very little movement at all. But no they were not stone statues but accomplished minstrels with tales of love and freedom and journeys into the unknown. The singing minstrel was certainly one of the better heard in the land. Frock seemed an unusual name for they were indeed all males.  

Fire and brimstone was called upon to halt the proceeding and clear the floor for the headman to pass judgement. Badges for valued and long service were handed out to warriors with strange names. Talking of which a naming ceremony was held and gold lettering hammered onto body armour.  

Riff raff prizes were promised but the oracle seemed to at least get this right. Some recycled prizes were distributed before more cavorting across the hard floors. Mind bending drinks were on offer to those who failed to succumb earlier. Late in the night each clans’ rallying calls were made until a final climax of the evening. Agreements were made and a new date settled before each clan member made their weary journey home to recover.